Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Safe on the ship

For those of you wondering - we made it back on the ship safely, though it did require a deus ex machina that I will sit down and write about during my shift tomorrow morning. Sorry to leave you hanging, but this was an intense and unbelievable experience that will take a while to type up, so until then, I leave you with two low-res pictures of this last week:

First look at Venezuela:

The Venezuelan Cloud Forest in Canaima:

I love making these panoramas so I have another 5-10 to go from this last trip.

10 more trips to go...


Dunagan said...

Deus ex machina (plural dei ex machinis) is Latin for "god from the machine" and is a calque from the Greek "από μηχανής θεός", (pronounced "apo mekhanes theos"). It originated with Greek and Roman theater, when a mechane would lower a god or gods onstage to resolve a hopeless situation. Thus, "god comes from the machine". The phrase deus ex machina has been extended to refer to any resolution to a story which does not pay due regard to the story's internal logic and is so unlikely it challenges suspension of disbelief, and presumably allows the author to end it in the way he or she wanted. In short, a deus ex machina is a quick fix in a story.

In modern terms the Deus ex machina has also come to descibe a person or thing that suddenly arrives and solves a seemingly insoluble difficulty. While in story telling this seems like cheating, in life, this type of figure might be welcome and heroic.

The notion of Deus ex machina can also be applied to a revelation within a story experienced by a character, narrator, etc, which involves the individual realising that the complicated, sometimes perilous or mundane and perhaps seemingly unrelated sequence of events leading up to this point in the story are joined together by some profound concept. Thus the unexpected and timely intervention is aimed at the meaning of the story rather than a physical event in the plot.

The pronunciation of the phrase is a problem in English. Traditional ways of saying Latin would have it something like DAY-us ex MAK-in-a, while more modern ways of pronouncing Latin would give perhaps DAY-oos ex MAH-kin-ah, but many people naturally bring in the modern English m'SHEEN, resulting in a mixed pronunciation. However, the most accurate way of pronouncing the phrase would probably be "DEH-us ex MAH-kin-ah," since the Latin "e" is almost always pronounced as an "eh" sound. To understand better the correct form, remember that the language that is closer to Latin in terms of vowels and pronunciation of the words in general is the Italian language. Detailed explanation of the Latin sounds.

TerrorByte said...

Thanks for the definition and pronunciation of Deus ex machina. Although I knew what it meant, I didn't know how to pronounce it for the longest time.

It's useful for people that spot it and are clueless about its meaning.